As most political parties in Cyprus expressed alarm at the impact the Turkish ‘Yes’ vote in Sunday’s constitutional referendum might have on Turkey’s policy on the Cyprus peace talks, President Nicos Anastasiades plans to convene the National Council on Monday.
A National Council session has long been a demand of opposition parties, particularly those deeply critical of Anastasiades’ Cyprus-problem strategy, but the president has been less than responsive, citing the absence of progress in the talks.
Last week, Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci resumed their weekly tete-a-tetes following a two-month hiatus that threatened to derail the talks completely, but the meeting was described as “largely procedural”.
On Thursday, the first “substantive” meeting between the two leaders will be held.
The meeting, along with the outcome of the Turkish referendum and Turkey’s continued marine advisories (Navtex) notifying of activity in large chunks of sea adjacent to Cyprus, prompted Anastasiades to convene the council, an informal body advisory to the president.
Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot political parties on Tuesday unleashed a volley of alarm at the outcome of the Turkish referendum, which they claimed can only embolden Turkey to harden its stance in the newly-resumed Cyprus peace talks.
In a statement on Monday, Diko warned that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “marginal success in having constitutional reform approved causes serious suspicion that a further hardening of Turkey’s stance in the Cyprus problem is impending”.
Particularly on the Cyprus problem, the party said, “concern is strengthened by remarks by the occupation leader”, as the party referred to Akinci, “who, three days before his next meeting with President Anastasiades, has issued new threats regarding the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign right to exploit its exclusive economic zone”.
Akinci had said that the summer drilling schedule by oil companies conducting hydrocarbons exploration in Cyprus’ EEZ forms a “natural deadline” for the peace talks.
On Tuesday, socialist Edek said a country “like Turkey” cannot be given direct or indirect control “in the viability of a state, via the agreed solution”.
The Solidarity movement said the “Erdogan regime continuously fosters religious fanaticism and hatred”.
“This points to the dangers of developments and the unforgivable naivete of those who seek to unite Cyprus with Turkey, oblivious to the fact that the solution they are working towards leads us there,” the party said.
“The view that Erdogan’s rhetoric on enlarging Turkey by 2023, on the 100-year anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne, constitutes pandering by the Turkish President to his domestic audience, is just as dangerous.”
The Green party also referred to Akinci’s “natural deadline” remark as a “threat” and said there is no return from Anastasiades’ strategy of concessions.
“He made many concessions in hopes that Akinci would reciprocate, and then hoped that post-referendum Erdogan would be more conciliatory,” the party said.
“Unfortunately, he was late to realise the Turks’ game and there are no room for escape anymore.”